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mkcurran

A Splendor -rific rocking time.

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I just got off the Splendor Saturday and will be commencing my review shortly. A little background information:

 

I took this exact cruise last year in April with my parents. When we got off the ship daughter#1 called and asked if we'd want to do another cruise. The kids who were about to enter their senior year really wanted a cruise for their senior trip. I tried mightily to get her to choose a Caribbean cruise. I even offered up paying for the villa at Half Moon Cay for the group. Alas all my efforts were in vain, as the plane tickets were super cheap from SeaTac to LAX. So I week after I got off the ship I called Carnival back up and requested to take the exact same room for another week. 

 

My room was a Spa interior, very close to the front of the ship and about 15 steps from the "secret deck." Others in the group had balcony cabins, Interiors and one Ocean View. By the time it was time to get on the ship we had 24 people in our group. How I still have my sanity, I have no idea.

 

If you have questions as I go along...please ask!

 

Pictures of early packing and the group still smiling after we got off the ship.

 

 

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The Drive From AZ to LA:

 

So Friday came and we rolled up to our friends house. They insisted on going with us, so we insisted on taking their bigger car. That's me in the front, my hubby driving and D & V in the back seat. My hubby gets to drive always. Mostly because he sucks as a passenger, but partly because this leaves the rest of us time to play on our devices or nap. 

 

As we approached Palm Springs we saw snow. A rare thing for us, and usually a dirty four letter word in our world. 

 

So if you haven't guesses while I can figure out how to attach pictures, I haven't figured out how to get the words around them. 

 

We got closer. Close enough that traffic started grinding to a halt. LA traffic is always a joy.

 

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A group of us are leaving on this cruise on Mar 2. We have sailed out of Long Beach numerous time but never on Saturday. I have heard that parking can sometimes be a problem did you have any issues?

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Pre-Cruise Stay

 

Having sailed this ship before and having used Carnival's parking garage, we knew enough to not make that mistake again. So when I booked the cruise I also sent an email over to the Hotel Maya to ensure we'd have a place to leave the car for the week. This might have been the best decision of the cruise.

 

The Hotel itself is dated. They could use caulking around most all of their plumbing fixtures and little extra bleach to battle the mold would have been appreciated. The beds were hard and they were doubles, not Queens as stated. Due to the unique shape of the hotel the rooms have a funky lay-out. It works for the most part, until you have to go in the middle of the night. We both found the vanity in the bathroom with our hips and the toilet with our shins. Surprisingly we had no bruises in the light of day. Looking back I think we should have used one of our glow sticks as a night light here. But anyway, while not the greatest hotel ever, it did the job and the hubby got a great night's sleep.

 

The grounds are beautiful and the shuttle is very quick and efficient. We got to see the Imagination in port. 

There is a festival grounds area over by the Queen Mary. We could hear the music outside, but not in our rooms.

The view from the room at night was breath taking.

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6 minutes ago, Khunter3 said:

A group of us are leaving on this cruise on Mar 2. We have sailed out of Long Beach numerous time but never on Saturday. I have heard that parking can sometimes be a problem did you have any issues?

We parked and cruised. So no, no issues at all. 😉

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Embarkation day!

 

The day was finally here! Reports from the kids were that they all made it into town and were headed to the port. Some of them barely outran the blizzard that hit Seattle. They reported various friends hating them that morning. 

 

We got a good view of the rear-end of the Splendor for a few minutes in the morning. Shortly after I took that picture the skies opened up and it rained. Hard. We had breakfast at the buffet in the hotel. $25 person and very good. Our friends bought as today was the hubby's birthday. We watched the rain for about an hour while we ate and had coffee. 

 

After breakfast we went back to the room to relax for a bit before our scheduled shuttle time of 11 am. We were just sitting there watching TV when we heard the very slightest knock on the door before it opened. No announcement, no waiting for us to answer, housekeeping was trying to get in. Scratch that, she did come in and seemed surprised that we were there. She quickly backed out and left.

 

Soon it was time to grab our ride. This is the first time in a long time that I've rode in a Mercedes. We flew into port. Apparently the shuttle driver regularly bribes the guys directing traffic along the route with cookies. In less than five minutes we were unloaded and heading for the Early/Late check-in line. 

About 10 minutes later we were seated inside the dome. We picked a prime spot, located close to the facilities. With in half an hour all of our group had made it in. Not too much longer we were headed for the ship. All 24 of us. It was a miracle!

 

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Embarkation Continued

 

Once on board the plan was to meet in the BBQ place above the lido. Well you can't heard squirrels so we ended up at the back of the Lido buffet. Which gave me an opportunity to get my first drink at the aft liner bar. I've never tasted a better margarita.

 

I included a couple of Port shots below. We all wandered around the ship until we could get to our cabins. We met out steward, Sharlene, who was a ray of sunshine. After unloading all of our crap we wandered around until we found our friends in the Casino. We waited there until the dreaded Muster drill. Muster was quick and easy this go around, even if we did have it outside. We met some lovely new friends while we were there. 

 

We then went back up to the cabin to unpack. When I finished unpacking I thought, hey we should see when we are sailing away. Flipped on the TV to the Bow camera--we were already moving. Oops, we missed it.

 

I've attached the menus for dinner below. I had the Calamari and the Mahi Mahi from the port of call menu. Dinner service was a bit disorganized this evening. But then again so were we. 

After dinner we went to see our first movie of the trip, Instant Family. We got prime seats right next to the pool. Where we got an excellent view of Grandkid #6 swimming. Grandkid #5 and her mother, Kid #3 joined us as well.

 

After the movie we went to the spa, to find it crowded and the Thalo pool not nearly as hot as last time. The temp on the pool never came back up during the week.

 

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Sunday--Sea Day

 

I took exactly 1 picture this day. We got up and headed down to the lido for coffee and breakfast. Eventually we saw all the kids at some point in the morning. Including Grandkid #2 who looked a bit green. She thought it might be sea sickness, we pondered that the 3-4 drinks she had shortly after boarding might not have helped the situation. Either way we handed over some Bonnine and she hid in her cabin for a couple more hours. 

We ventured out for a crafts session. Carnival has partnered with Micheal's for some FREE craft sessions. Today's craft was a Lanyard. With a card holder and a ring for a eyeglass holder. To make the lanyard we had to string beads. We ended up sitting next to two very lovely ladies. (hey Debbie & Karen! if you are reading this.) Turns out this would be the first of many, many fun encounters we would have with them.

We had way more fun than we probably should have trying to string beads . Lots of inappropriate talk about hitting the holes. Nadia on the fun quad figured out early that we were trouble. 

Crafts ended, and my hubby had not finished his lanyard. So i made the decision that we would stay for the next activity, "The Genius Test." We called in back-up in the form of grandkid #5. She was not much help. We, combined, are not geniuses. Later in the week I would be glad we sat through this test. 

 

The rest of the day consisted of spending some time in the Casino, grabbing lunch from the Deli--the hot dogs are the best! and watching the try-outs for the lip sync battle. There are people who come on the ship prepared for the battle, others are drunk and have no idea what they are getting into when they stand up at the wrong time. It was entertaining and the poor cruise director got flashed by a very drunk contestant. They must not have been that impressive as that lady did not make it to the next round.

 

Tonight was the first of the 2 formal nights. I just noticed the downloaded menu shows striped bass as an entree--it was actually the really delicious Sea Bass. I also was the envy of the table with the malted chocolate hazelnut cake for dessert.

 

Tonight was trip to the comedy club where we saw Chris somebody with his "Hairy Dad" routine. He was funny. We rounded out the night with a trip to the spa.

 

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Cabo day!

 

Monday is Cabo day. We ate breakfast while pulling into the port. There were whales playing every where. If a person would point to the windows everybody around them looked. I may have pointed at nothing a couple of times, just to test this theory. 

I love sailing into Cabo. It's beautiful. 

Today was D's birthday, as you can see from the photo below, he was thrilled. This day we waited until general boarding on the tenders---I won't call them water shuttles, that just ain't right. A quick ride later we were at the Marina. The kids all got off the boat early to go their separate directions. 

 

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Cabo continued:

 

We had no plans, mostly because if I do't make plans, it doesn't happen. So we got off the tender and strolled around the marina. I attempted a tequila tasting, but the lady really didn't want to crack the bottle of chocolate tequila for me. She kept saying, "just a minute" but I eventually gave up and walked out of the shop. Which turned out to be a good decision. We did find an interesting plaza with a tequila making display. 

We saw some really cool boats. including The Attesa, owned by Dennis Washington, not Denzel, as some thought. Along with "Here Comes the Sun" which is available for charters at the low low price of $1.3 million per week.

 

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Cabo continued...

 

After a bit of wondering we stopped for drinks and nachos at Soloman's Landing. Guy Fieri has been here. The nachos were good, but I couldn't get a margarita or really any service after they dumped the food on the table. But hey D was happy and it was his birthday after all.  

 

Soon it was time to return to the mother ship. The Ruby Princess dropped anchor behind us and looked like our ship's kid sister.

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Back on the ship we had dinner, menu's attached. I had the tuna appetizer and the lamb with the cheese plate for dessert. Tonight's entertainment was watching Billy W in the comedy club. The show started out slow with a heavy reliance on race jokes. But once he started with the keyboard it got better.

Sailing across the Sea of Cortez tonight was much rougher than last time.  We went out on the secret deck after our spa visit and my cover up went full Marilyn on me. The hubby decided we should get back inside before we blew away.

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Mazatlan

 

Last time we were in Mazatlan we walked the blue line and saw a good portion of the beautiful old downtown area. This time we booked a tour with Mazatlan tours and headed over to Stone Island for the day.

You'll see below she was all smiles as we headed out for the first part of our trip, a catamaran ride. This would not last long. We found caves on our way out. Then we went further out because they had time to burn or maybe a crap covered rock is fascinating? The sea lions were very excited to see us as well. It was about the time we circled the rocks that I noticed V was turning very green. The captain of the boat noticed this as well, he supplied her with an ice pack and put it at the bottom of her neck. Worked like a charm!

Kid #3 was enjoying the ride. Kid #1...not so much. kid #2 pretty much had the same facial expression for the entire cruise. Notice how nicely he matched his hair color to his skin tone. His sunscreen was no match for the Mexican sun. 

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I’m enjoying reading about your cruise as we’ll be doing the same one in the fall.

 

So, how do you get to the “secret deck” and what do you find once you’re there?

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18 hours ago, GradUT said:

I’m enjoying reading about your cruise as we’ll be doing the same one in the fall.

 

So, how do you get to the “secret deck” and what do you find once you’re there?

Go to Deck 10, go all the way to the front. There are doors on both sides. It's just a plain deck with a couple of wooden benches, but the views are hard to beat. All of my Cabo Port pictures were taken from there.

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Mazatlan continued...

 

Okay I left y'all on the boat. After we docked at Stone Island. We rode a tractor pulling 3 carts down a long narrow winding roa d to our spot for the day. You'll notice V is not matching the color of her bag anymore and was much happier.  The Grandkids headed straight for he beach. This beach has the softest sand and was just wonderful for walking. But not for driving, as we watched a car get stuck in the sand. Soon enough my big kid was in the water playing with grandkid #6. 

 

On this excursion we booked it included lunch, drinks, and two activities. I was going to try kayaking but the surf was a little rough that day. Video below (hopefully). Instead I enjoyed my lunch of yellow charcoal chicken--it may have been pelican, the best quesadilla, and an excellent fish taco. I also enjoyed three margaritas. The first one was weak. V told the bartender I liked my margaritas strong. He delivered on the second one. By the time I got up to get the third one I also took my tip money for the day to drop in his jar. I'm pretty sure that third one was mostly tequila with a splash of lime juice. 

At this point I knew I wasn't doing any activities, so the grankids got my tickets and went on a few more horse rides. On time on the banana boat, and getting dumped twice was enough for them. Three hours later they loaded our loaded butts back onto the tractor carts and hauled us back to the dock and eventually back to the ship.

 

I would definitely book this tour again. Well worth the money, well except for the crap covered rock. 

 

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Mazatlan continued....

 

In case you were wondering where Nissans come from here's a picture of some vans getting ready to ship out. The catamaran pictured below has the name of Titanik. We saw it sailing earlier in the day with out many passengers...I wonder why....

Also the Vindata Elegant cruise ship broke down here two weeks ago and was undergoing repairs.

 

 

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Mazatlan again...as the pictures are fighting with me today....


I was going to post the dinner menus....but it seems I didn't actually look at them on my phone. Fun fact if you look at the menus in the hub app it actually downloads a pdf copy to your phone!

So that night we had dinner and went to watch Bohemian Rhapsody on the big screen. Except we got there late. Well not late, but one big group had already grabbed all of the spare chairs on the lower lido deck and completely blocked the area around the pool. So we went to the upper deck, where I thought we had found acceptable seats.. that was until the 6 foot something dude in front of us tried to grab my chair, right as I was sitting down. He let me have my chair, but then he stacked 3 chairs up and sat on them.....right in front of me. Dude I'm 5 foot almost nothing and I wouldn't pull that kind of move. We moved on. We found Kid #1 on the other side of the upper deck and grabbed a couple of chairs over that way.

I'll leave you with more gratuitous sail away pictures from Mazatlan.

 

 

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Puerto Vallarta 

 

Wednesday found us waking up in PV. 

The plan for today was simple, get every one to the Malecon and meet up for lunch later. We had 15 people in our group. Most of the shuttle vans hold 14 passengers. Did this stop our enterprising driver? nope. He popped a camp stool out of the back and we had an extra seat. 

The Malecon in PV is this magical place with shops on one side and the beach/ocean on the other. Cheap drinks can be found along with good food. However based upon our last trip here, the exchange rate in the restaurants sucks. We came prepared...we had our pesos. 

We wondered along and we had to keep waiting for V. The kids took off ahead of us. I got plenty of pictures of the art work as we wondered. Shopping tip...the further down the boardwalk you go, the better the prices. 

Eventually I found the tequila shop (to no one's surprise.) I finally got to taste the chocolate tequila. And I bought it, for $10 cheaper than in Cabo.  I'm not too sure, but V may have made a deal to ship some of the tequila up to her family's vacation house in Northern Mexico. 

 

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PV Continued...

 

It wasn't too long down the road that we remembered that we were old, tired and hungry. So we stopped at Roberto's, just off the Plaza. The selling point here was 2 for 1 margarita and tables with umbrellas. 

Kids #1 & #3, and their entire families, found us in time to have lunch. The fish tacos were beautiful. As was the view. 

Next door was a VW pickup and a some of those face-hole things for photo ops. 

From lunch we walked over the river.

 

After all that walking it was time to get back to the ship and take a nap. We put our lives in the hands of a cab driver and got a ride back to the port. 

 

After waiting forever to get on the ship I was told that I needed to go check in my booze. I looked over and couldn't even see the table. I figured if they really wanted my booze they can come claim it later. At this point I was tired cranky and had to go. And that is how I got back on the ship with a full bottle of tequila. 

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